Pre-school and Kindergarten Mandatory in the Philippines

The Department of Education 6 (DepEd-6) is expecting problems like lack of chairs, classrooms, textbooks and teachers to arise as opening of classes for school year 2011-2012 officially starts in June 6.

Dr. Mildred Garay, officer-in-charge of DepEd-6 said the said concerns could be attributed to the advance implementation of universal kindergarten education policy which will be made mandatory by next school year.

“This policy is not yet mandatory as of now because the policy and guidelines are still under review but we are encouraging parents ahead of time to enroll their children this school year so that their children could be accommodated for Grade 1 at the age of 6”, she said.

This summer, Garay said they have required public schools in Western Visayas to have summer class for pre-school children aging five years old but will turn six years old this school opening.

Garay stressed they required each school to have one additional classroom and kindergarten teacher to accommodate pre-school children aging five-year-old below if they were not able to attend the summer class.

Garay said the school administrators could also utilize any structures available for half-day class. She added teacher could only accommodate 20 to 25 pupils per class to avoid overcrowding.

She added that they already tapped the help of local government units (LGUs) particularly the Local School Board to address these problems especially in hiring additional kindergarten teachers.

Garay said DepEd-6 may also hire teachers as long as there are vacant positions either plantilla or casual.

Aside from this, the officer-in-charge added she already requested additional textbooks and chairs from their central office in Manila to replace old ones.

During the full implementation of the universal kindergarten policy, Garay said those who could not be accommodated by public schools could enroll in barangay day care centers or private schools as long as they could meet the mandatory education requirement before enrolling in Grade 1.(PNA)

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